Ceremonies are one thing. When the machinery comes out and the asphalt goes up, now that’s a groundbreaking. Thanks to MRK for the photo of the start of the real work this week to create a new park and p-patch at Summit and John. Here’s one of our overviews on the project. Parks has said the project could be completed as early as September.
Meanwhile, the city department is also preparing plans for cuts to its services as budget woes force Seattle government to tighten its belt. In a statement on its Web site, Parks has said that its services “may be affected by decisions on midyear 2010 budget reductions that are necessary because of a revenue shortfall that affects all City departments. We expect to know these decisions around June 1, 2010, and will immediately make changes to this page, if any are necessary, that reflect impacts on summer programs.”
At the end of April, Parks announced that 24 of its 27 wading pools could face closure this summer including the Cal Anderson pool. The Volunteer Park wading area is reportedly not being considered for cutbacks. Also on the most recent possible cut list — the Parks-run community centers like Miller.
The April announcements match up with what an anonymous employee with knowledge of the Parks budget situation told CHS about the cuts. “Overall, I’ve been told in meetings that everything, including pools, community centers and environmental centers in all parks and open spaces will receive dramatically less attention,” said the employee. “Parks facilities and [public] open spaces will be considered for cuts and reductions in service. This is unprecedented, to my knowledge.” We also reported on the concerns from the group Friends of the Conservatory that says it fears the Volunteer Park landmark might face the budget axe as it approaches its 100-year anniversary in 2012. Meanwhile, the department is able to pursue new properties for acquisition as past park levies provide the necessary capital for real estate deals but not for operations. We should know about the future of the Conservatory and the rest of Capitol Hill’s park environments next week.
Some other budget-related cutbacks will be more immediate. Parks employees will be on furlough on days sandwiching the upcoming weekend. You may remember some of the problems from the previous furlough days earlier this month. Parks has said those same problems with trash won’t happen again but they’re also asking people to “pack it out.” We’ll have more on the situation later this week.